Crisis is rocking the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) as police operatives stormed the association’s headquarters to halt inauguration of its newly elected Executive Committee.

CITY LAWYER gathered that the inauguration ceremony was held up while outgone AWLA Nigeria President Efe Etomi was among those locked out by ‘thugs’ allegedly procured by AWLA International President and Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Third Vice President Amanda Asagba.

It has also emerged that the Etomi-led Executive Committee had also invited the police to dislodge the ‘thugs’ in order to proceed with the planned inauguration ceremony.

But Asagba told CITY LAWYER that he invited the police to keep the peace, describing the election as “an illegality.”

The Bar Leader said that she was “practically begging them to call off the illegal inauguration,” adding that Etomi had lost the power to set up an Electoral Committee or conduct any election, having not done so after her tenure expired and without seeking an extension of tenure as required by the AWLA Constitution.

“I did not bring any thug to the venue,” she said. “It was even someone among them that slapped my security man while they all rained insults on me. There was no unprintable word they didn’t use on me. If I had brought thugs, you can predict how they would respond in such circumstances. I expected Efe to have left office peacefully and honourably but sadly that did not happen. The person they brought to succeed her does not even meet the requirements as per attendance of meetings etc.”

Adesola Olusoga Bello, the Vice Coordinator, AWLA Lagos State Chapter, reportedly said that while others favoured an election, Asagba preferred a succession plan where the new Executive Committee members would be head-hunted.

CITY LAWYER gathered that aside from intervention by police operatives from Ilupeju Police Station, some thugs used padlocks to lock the entrance gate.

The Etomi faction however claimed that the new Executive Committee was eventually inaugurated. The committee comprises the following: Mrs. Caroline Ibharuneafe, President; Mrs. Felicia Nwaobi, Vice President; Mrs. Oise Perpetua Chigbue, Secretary; Mrs. Julie Lisa Onyeagba, Treasurer; Mrs. Nnenna Anozie, Financial Secretary, and Mrs. Monica Abiton Okorodudu Akinuli, Welfare Officer.

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